SBC #18 "Riffer Madness"

Breaking Bourbon Award Winning Single Barrel Club picks are selected by Breaking Bourbon, and whenever possible with the help of Patreon supporters. The bottles are made available to Patreon supporters first by pledge tier. If any bottles remain after all supporters have had an opportunity to purchase, they are made available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Each barrel is sponsored by a retailer partner, who sells the bottles directly to end purchasers.

Retailer Partner: Grain & Vine

Name: New Riff Straight Bourbon

Company: New Riff Distilling

Distillery: New Riff Distilling

Age: 4 Years

Proof: 111.8 (Barrel Proof)

Mashbill: 65% Corn, 30% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

Yield: 221 Bottles

Release Date: February 2020 (SOLD OUT)


This is our second barrel pick with Grain & Vine as well as our second New Riff Single Barrel pick since we started the Single Barrel Club. The first, which we lovingly dubbed “Riffler’s Mom,” sold out quickly so when we had the opportunity to select another barrel we jumped on it.

We’ve been really impressed with how New Riff’s entire operation - their process, people, facility, whiskey...everything. We toured their facility and selected our first New Riff barrel pick onsite last June, and encourage everyone to make it a point to visit their facilities if you have an opportunity. For more background, be sure to read our in-depth interview with company co-founder Jay Erisman.

This barrel selection was done offsite, which is not the norm for New Riff. New Riff rarely allows offsite picks, because they are very focused on ensuring those making barrel selections experience the barrel selection process they’ve carefully curated based on years of making selections themselves. Their onsite barrel selection process is one of the absolute best in the industry.

So with our three barrel samples in hand we began tasting. It was quickly apparent that all three barrels were really good, but also very different from one another - a consistent and positive quality we’ve noticed about New Riff.

Maybe New Riff sent us three really special barrels? Maybe we just got lucky? We’ll never know for sure. But ultimately the one we selected was unlike any other New Riff bourbon we’ve had so far. Deep rich notes of dark fruit and tobacco throughout, we found it very pleasing and different from the norm. The idea that kept coming up as we tasted it - this would be perfect with a cigar. It was an easy choice, and possibly the best New Riff barrel we've ever had.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose is comprised of leather, tobacco, dark fruit, and seasoned oak inviting you in for more. A fantastic display of aromas.

Palate: An immediate dose of sugary sweetness is followed by tobacco, cigar box, dark fruit, and leather. These flavors combine with aged oak to form a complex, yet balanced array of flavors.

Finish: A pop of rye spice at first, followed by lingering aged oak turning a bit dry towards the end.

Overall: An incredibly rich and unique tasting bourbon. A true standout. With notes of tobacco throughout it’s quite possibly a quintessential bourbon to pair with a cigar.

For the nickname and sticker design we polled Single Barrel Club members who returned a number of great ideas. That sparked more ideas. We kept the brainstorming going, batting ideas back and forth with one another. Ultimately, we landed on a play on a piece of history many of you are familiar with, the 1936 film Reefer Madness. It worked perfectly for this barrel, with a bourbon so good you’ll be hooked on first sip!

We come up with these nicknames and fun stickers because we kind of fall in love with each barrel we pick. Each has its own story, and just thinking about what it takes to get each barrel from its very beginning to ultimately being bottled and poured in our glasses - years upon years with so much effort going into that - is mind-boggling. It’s what draws us to bourbon and keeps us coming back. The nicknames and stickers, in their simplest form, serve to memorialize that making each pick even more memorable and identifiable, in a way.

Distillers, Producers, and Retailers: If you would like to be a part of this program and get your name in front of millions of bourbon enthusiasts, contact us.

Please note these bottles will not be sold by Breaking Bourbon, but will be sold by retailers we partner with in order to fulfill the orders and ship the bottles directly to Patreon supporters. Breaking Bourbon will receive no compensation from our partner retailers under these agreements (with the exception of a bottle from each barrel for editorial purposes). If you represent a retailer and ship to consumers and you’re interested in partnering just let us know!

Written By: BB Team

February 10, 2020
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